The very next Sunday after the visit of their deputation to him, the church in Cow-lane asked their old minister to preach to them. Dorothy, as a matter of course, went with her father, although, dearly as she loved him, she would have much preferred hearing what the curate had to say. The pastor’s text was, Ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law—judgment, mercy, and faith. In his sermon he enforced certain of the dogmas of a theology which once expressed more truth “than falsehood, but now at least conveys more falsehood than truth, because of the changed conditions of those who teach and those who hear it; for, even where his faith had been vital enough to burst the verbally rigid, formal, and indeed spiritually vulgar theology he had been taught, his intellect had not been strong enough to cast off the husks. His expressions, assertions, and arguments, tying up a bundle of mighty truth with cords taken from the lumber-room and the ash-pit, grazed severely the tenderer nature of his daughter. When they reached the house, and she found herself alone with her father in his study, she broke suddenly into passionate complaint—not that he should so represent God, seeing, for what she knew, He might indeed be such, but that, so representing God, he should expect men to love Him. It was not often that her sea, however troubled in its depths, rose into such visible storm. She threw herself upon the floor with a loud cry, and lay sobbing and weeping. Her father was terribly startled, and stood for a moment as if stunned; then a faint slow light began to break in upon him, and he stood silent, sad, and thoughtful. He knew that he loved God, yet in what he said concerning Him, in the impression he gave of Him, there was that which prevented the best daughter in the world from loving her Father in Heaven! He began to see that he had never really thought about these things; he had been taught them but had never turned them over in the light, never perceived the fact, that, however much truth might be there, there also was what at least looked like a fearful lie against God. For a moment he gazed with keen compassion on his daughter as she lay, actually writhing in her agony, then kneeled beside her, and laying his hand upon her, said gently:
“Well, my dear, if those things are not true, my saying them will not make them so.”
She sprung to her feet, threw her arms about his neck, kissed him, and left the room. The minister remained upon his knees.
THE DOCTOR’S HOUSE.